Vegetarian Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup with Lime and Cilantro

The tomatillo is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of that country’s cuisine.

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Yields 6 Servings


1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
1 T finely minced garlic
1 T dried cilantro
2 tsp. dried Mexican Oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired



Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried cilantro, Mexican Oregano, and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more. While vegetables saute, dump beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse until no more foam appears.

Put tomatillo-onion mixture into large 4-5 quart crockpot. (I used a 5 1/2 quart crock pot, but it was not completely full.) Add beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken stock, water, and brown rice. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours. Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time according to how hot your crockpot gets.)

After 4 hours (or 8 hours if using low) turn the crockpot to low setting, and let it cook 15 minutes to lower the temperature, then add the fresh lime juice and cilantro and cook 10 minutes on low. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.

This recipe could be cooked on the stove. Follow directions above, but put ingredients into medium sized soup pot and add one cup more water. Cook at very low simmer for about one hour, then reduce heat for five minutes, then add lime juice and cilantro and simmer five minutes more.

Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

Recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen, 2008